Host barangays of a huge mining firm in Aroroy, Masbate are using their allocations for social development and management program to pursue livelihood projects for the residents.
The latest program is to teach the men and women from the barangays to engage in farming and gardening that will enable them to produce much of their own food and at the same time generate income for their family’s own benefit.
Masbate Gold Project, a mining company under the umbrella of Filminera Resources Corp, has sent a total of 24 people, mostly women, to undergo a five-day training (Dec. 1-5) at the AANI Urban Farm in Antipolo City. The group included the community development organizers of two host barangays. They are Jeffrey Labini of Brgy. Panique and Lorna Magalang of Brgy. Bangon.
One of the subjects taken up was the modern techniques of vegetable production. Romy Velasco, an agriculturist who has a long experience with the East-West Seed Company as a technician, was the resource person.
He taught the participants through lectures and demonstration the basics of good agricultural practices in vegetable production. These include the use of improved seeds, use of seedling trays in germinating seeds, methods of hardening the seedlings and other techniques up to harvesting and marketing.
Velasco did not only teach them scientific production. He also gave pointers in timing production to maximize the opportunity for making a profit. He also cited possible money-making projects in vegetables. For instance, producing seedlings for sale to other farmers can be a lucrative project. In Bulacan, he said, there are enterprising men and women who are into growing seedlings and selling them at a profit. One seed of hybrid papaya, for instance, may cost P7. When it is grown in the nursery for one month or so, it could be retailed for P30 to P35.
VERMICULTURE – Another topic that could make farming in Masbate more profitable is producing organic fertilizer through vermiculture. This is the culture of earthworms that transforms manure and many other farm wastes into potent organic fertilizer.
Pol Rubia, operations manager of AANI who is from Aroroy, pointed out that in Masbate there are cattle ranches. The cattle manure could be collected and used to feed the earthworms so they can be converted into a much more effective organic fertilizer than the pure cattle manure.
Production of vermicast or vermicompost can also be an income-generating project. One sack of 50 kilos could be sold in the province at P250 or thereabouts. Vermicast is very good for vegetables, rice, corn and many other crops.
Vermicast can be applied direct to the soil. However, it can also be converted into vermitea and sprayed on the leaves of vegetables and other crops. It has been observed that plants sprayed with vermitea are less susceptible to pests and diseases.
QUAIL RAISING – Another topic that was taken up was quail raising. The resource person was Jeffrey de la Cruz, an expert quail technician from the Agrichexers which manufactures the bulk of quail feeds in the country. Quail raising has a number of advantages. It is a project that can be undertaken right at home. The project requires only little growing space. It also requires a modest capital compared to other livestock projects such as cattle raising.
The quail raiser does not have to wait for a long time before the quails start laying eggs because their first eggs can be had in just 35 days from hatching. Quail eggs are nutritious and very nice to eat, and they are also very affordable.
ORGANIC PIG PRODUCTION – The trainees were also updated on the latest technique in pig production. This is the use of pig pens that don’t have concrete floors. The flooring is composed of several inches of rice hull and other materials that are available on the farm. The pigs are not bathed at all and the piggery does not smell the usual foul odor in ordinary piggeries because effective microorganisms are sprayed to arrest ammonia.
The use of fermented feeds makes hog raising economical. The feeds could include shredded water hyacinth, napier and many other forage crops that are mixed with rice bran, copra, soya and then fermented for 15 days before feeding.